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Parking? There's an app for that

Parking App

We may still be waiting for hover-boards in 2018, but one new hi-tech solution has come into play in Hobart - an app for parking. 

That's right - no more fumbling for correct change, begging unfortunate nearby store-owners for coins, or taking the chance while you duck into a store for five minutes - because now there's an app for that. 

The EasyPark app lets Hobart parkers enter their bay number and pay their parking to the minute.

Get distracted by something shiny in a store window? Never fear, a reminder will let you know when your parking time draws near, making sure you avoid racing the parking inspector to your vehicle. 

Peter Carr, Director of City Innovation and Technology for the City of Hobart, says the app is being used all across Australia.

"It has a very intuitive interface. One of the things to remember is to press Start when you have parked and then press Stop when you are finished."

Users failing to press Stop will be charged the full allocation of time in the parking zone. As part of the bylaws, you still can't stay past the maximum period on the meters. 

"So initially you might park in a two hour zone but only pay for one hour and then decide that you want to stay a bit longer, or your doctors appointment is running overtime, you can then top up in that particular zone for another hour or another fifteen or thirty minutes as you would like," says Mr Carr. 

Just don't run out of battery on your smart device, or you'll also be stuck coughing up for the full amount of time. 

One disadvantage for users? Parking Inspectors also know when your time is almost up. 

The app is used separately from the recently installed meters, removing some of the teething issues that saw users complaining of glare and slow systems. 

"You can now use the app, or you can use the meter - but you don't use both at the same time."

The four million dollar project saw an excess of 300 new meters installed, 2000 in-ground sensors, 100 communication gateways, enforcement systems, and the app. 

"It's certainly innovative for Hobart, but it's also a first step. As a city it is going to help us address some of our bigger challenges, it's not about the revenue but about we can better manage things like traffic congestion," says Mr Carr. "On-street parking is really one of those mechanisms that helps the city function properly, so this new parking system is going to really help us try to increase the flow of traffic around the city."

More features are in-line to come, including a functionality on the same app that would let users know where parks are available, making the days of doing a blockie a thing of the past. 

But, new functionalities also bring new issues. 

"It's illegal for people to hold phones while driving so we obviously don't want to encourage that kind of behaviour," says Mr Carr. 

For the time being, testing of the app has been a success, and the city-wide roll-out began today. 

But Mr Carr says it's important that parkers aren't confused. 

"Use the meter, or use the app," he said. "Choose one for the transaction you are looking to do."